Just What Is HYPE... And How Much Do You Use?

35 replies
Hi Folks

One of my copywriting students is writing a sales letter for his copywriting
service, and he had a great section explaining the difference between
HYPE and using true emotion.

It got me thinking. Just what IS "hype" anyway?

I think we can recognize hype on a GUT level.

After all, we (as marketers and copywriters) probably read so many sales
letters that we easily become jaded by claims of being able to make
$52,736 in 14 minutes in our underwear, or claims of being able to lose
weight in 3 days with a simple 7 minute exercise that barely involves any
movement.

And yet...

Consumers buy these products all the time.

They lap up the claims, because all too often, that's what they want to
hear. They want to believe.

That's why copywriters make the biggest claims they can make for the
product.

That's why we get them imagining their life SLIM, 30 days from now in just
7 minutes a day.

We know consumers want EASY, FAST results. We know they buy on
EMOTION... which is why we push their hot buttons.

So how do YOU define hype? How much do YOU think should be used in
copy (if any), and what is YOUR criteria (and also as a consumer) for
determining when copy is "too hyped up"?

Is hype simply in the eye of the beholder?

I have my own set of ideas, rules and criteria for determining when a sales
letter is "over the top" in terms of hype... but I thought it would be
intriguing to start a discussion on the subject.

.
#hype
  • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
    Paul,

    I use two measuring sticks to determine hype in a sales letter -

    1. Does the copy have too many adverbs?
    2. Are the claims believable?

    The first is simply mechanical. It's easy enough to read through copy and pick out the adverbs.

    The second isn't as straightforward. As you point out, believability is in the eye of the beholder. So it depends on the niche.

    Alex
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  • Profile picture of the author Scott Murdaugh
    I think it was David Garfinkle (don't quote me on that) who said "hype is claims without proof to back them up"... I'm paraphrasing but I think that's a pretty good definition.

    Now, as to when (or if) you should use it, it depends on the market. Ya know, "Push Button System Creates $500 A Day On 100% Autopilot", biz op buyers will believe that, even if there's no real proof backing it up (or the entire letter is blind copy) because, yeah, they want to believe.

    I have my own moral qualms with that but it does work in the right markets.

    And really, it depends on a lot of things.

    If you're selling to your customer base, or people who know you well, and especially if you want to build a long-term customer base, you don't want to be too over the top...

    On the flip side, a lot of great copywriters use unbelievable claims with great success. Schwartz comes to mind...

    "How To Stay Young Until 90".

    You have to be tactful, but making unbelievable claims the right way can really get those curiosity glands going and suck people into an ad.

    It's a really good question Paul.

    You really have me thinking about it. And it's really one of the deeper psychological aspects of writing copy.

    I could go on all day about it, but I think I'll just leave it at this...

    Hype (outrageous claims) used the right way can be extremely effective. It can also set off BS detectors and turn customers off, you really have to be smart about how you approach it.

    Final verdict, it depends

    -Scott
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    Over $30 Million In Marketing Data And A Decade Of Consistently Generating Breakthrough Results - Ask How My Unique Approach To Copy Typically Outsells Traditional Ads By Up To 29x Or More...

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  • Profile picture of the author WAWarrior
    When more than 50% of the content is below par versus free content that people are offering on line .. that is hype to me, and I would feel short-change! Just my opinion.
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  • Profile picture of the author OnlineMasterMind
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    • Profile picture of the author arfasaira
      One of my clients explained that in her niche (beauty) everything is hyped up because as you said, people want a quick fix.

      As a woman, I know ive bought products on a whim because I want to believe the hype that ill look fabulous in 5 minutes flat - even though deep down I know its not true.

      Since I started copywriting, I'm far more critical of infomercials and commercials in general. I recognize the hot buttons which they push repeatedly...and much to my annoyance still find myself getting sucked in

      But, whereas pre-copywriting I would have bought whatever was being touted, post copywriting I am fighting with myself to stop believing the hype.

      Ive done it here on the forum with WSO's (now, now, own up, admit you guys get tempted too!) and now actively avoid checking the WSO section because of that reason.

      Hype works on so many levels, but more so when its something you desperately need. Hype me up over the latest car or gadget, I couldn't really care less. Hype me up over the latest weight loss miracle and I'm all ears. That's because I need to shift some baby weight which I've admittedly struggled shifting so far.

      Do I use it when writing copy - yes, but not over the top hype. I like to think mine is more playing up the good points and less about inflating something to the point where its verging on ridiculous. And I certainly don't feel comfortable about hyping things up which aren't really worth hyping up. But in the end, all the client wants is something that works and sells.
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      • Profile picture of the author Rezbi
        Originally Posted by arfasaira View Post

        But, whereas pre-copywriting I would have bought whatever was being touted, post copywriting I am fighting with myself to stop believing the hype.
        I don't have to fight with myself anymore. I've knocked myself out so many times by buying rubbish, I'm punch drunk.

        I can't get up off the floor to push the pay button.

        Thank God.
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  • Profile picture of the author methomas
    I have been doing very well on the Internet since 1998, using the truth to sell my products.

    A little hype may cause me to purchase a product but the product had better be close to the copy or I collect the refund, with no apologies.

    I think over-hyping is the reason that some of the guru launches have such high rates of refund.

    And over-hyping goes against my raising. I was taught that omission of damaging facts were in the class of lies along with exaggeration...

    So my copy will try hard to persuade, but it will be based on the quality of the product.

    If you have a good product, you don't need to set off the customer's BS meter.

    M E
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  • Profile picture of the author Rezbi
    Originally Posted by Paul Hancox View Post

    After all, we (as marketers and copywriters) probably read so many sales
    letters that we easily become jaded by claims of being able to make
    $52,736 in 14 minutes in our underwear, or claims of being able to lose
    weight in 3 days with a simple 7 minute exercise that barely involves any
    movement.
    This is the part that gets me.

    I have to roll my eyes when copywriters come on and say, "Is such and such headline out of fashion..." (kind of).

    The fact is, in the big scheme of things, the WF is a tiny drop in the ocean.

    I see things people rubbish on here as 'old hat' still working everywhere else.

    Not only are we not the market, we see it all the time so it just seems like it's used too often.

    It's not.

    Everything still works for someone else.

    As far as hype is concerned, as long as it's accompanied by legitimate and believable proof, then rock on, Tommy.
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  • Profile picture of the author Vortex Creator
    Very interesting question.

    In my opinion advertisers & creators of products should do a very good job of condensing the threshold of believability for consumers AND projecting it outward for them in order for the consumer to get the greatest benefit out of what they are purchasing. After that it's all in the eye of the consumer.

    Most people are so out of tune with their emotions that they don't know the difference between raw enthusiasm and hyped up emotion & therefore fall for the latter believing it was the first.
    Same with drug, sex & alcohol - people wanna have that 'high' but don't know what REALLY produces it (happiness that comes from within) and some people abuse their vulnerability.

    If you want to 'solve the problems' of other people then there is a certain responsibility involved & the more you take this responsibility serious the more your costumers will love you & tell their friends about it - raw enthusiasm
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  • Profile picture of the author WebRank1
    I don't think HYPE should be claims persé but promises really. You need to deliver on those promises though.
    I think that's where I would draw the line between claims and promises. A claim, to me, is a simple statement that may or may not have been stretched to create hype.
    A promise, to me, is something that would benefit your prospect regardless and if not there is a money back guarantee.
    Example:
    Claim; Lose 40Lbs in 7 Days Walking To The Store (no parameter just a claim to lose weight)
    Promise; If You Follow These 5 Simple Steps, You Will Lose 40Lbs (follow the steps and lose weight)

    I am not sure if I explained this right, but I hope that you see what I am getting at
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  • Scott's got it. If you can't prove it... it's hype.

    Nothing else matters.

    I don't care if it's written in ALL adverbs. If you can prove it. It's not hype.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
      Originally Posted by MontelloMarketing View Post

      Scott's got it. If you can't prove it... it's hype.

      Nothing else matters.

      I don't care if it's written in ALL adverbs. If you can prove it. It's not hype.
      LOL

      Thing is, if your prospect doesn't believe you, it's hype to him.

      And that's probably the ultimate definition of hype.

      Alex
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    • Profile picture of the author MikeHumphreys
      Originally Posted by MontelloMarketing View Post

      Scott's got it. If you can't prove it... it's hype.

      Nothing else matters.

      I don't care if it's written in ALL adverbs. If you can prove it. It's not hype.
      I agree with Scott and Vin.

      Hype is pretty much a version of bragging.

      And as legendary boxer Muhammad Ali puts it: "It's not bragging if you can back it up."

      The other thing I'll add is you have to have realistic expectations. You're not going to convert every prospect. Even a squeeze page with a great offer won't convert 100% of the prospects who see it.

      If your salesletter converts 1 out of 20 prospects into buyers, then you're enjoying a 5% response rate. Sure, 95% of the prospects aren't buying for whatever reason, but you still have a winning salesletter.

      At least that's my opinion...

      Mike
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      • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
        You gotta be kidding me.

        Hype hinges upon documented proof of results?

        Not a chance. Not one chance in hell.

        I used to think like that. Until one of my Partners b*tch slapped me. For a piece I was writing, I told him "I need proof."

        He told me "We don't need no f*cking proof! Get to work, godd*mnit!"

        We were launching a new product. No proof. But we had a winner. The product was amazing. I sold the hell out of it. No testimonials. No endorsements. No time to collect testimonials.

        Yeah, it WAS hype, massive hype, I went all out. And I'm proud of it.

        But the hype was backed something other than proof...

        It was the product and it's ability to fulfill.

        People will believe. People will take a risk and a chance. Priced right? People will seize an opportunity, when it makes sense to them. People will believe "the hype."

        And that's where the GUARANTEE comes in. And that's why the guarantee is SO important, when there is no proof available.

        Hype UNEQUIVOCALLY does not hinge upon proof.

        It's hype, ONLY IF the product fails to deliver in the hands of the buyer. That's the true test.

        That's the big reason WHY CB refunds for IM products are so high. The products fail to deliver. Even though the "proof" and corresponding hype is overwhelming.

        - Rick Duris

        PS: I was thinking about this. As an example... may be dated. The Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus.

        Their tagline? "The GREATEST Show on Earth." Hyperbole to the MAX. Can't get any worse or any better.

        Where's the proof that they are "The GREATEST"?

        There is none. None at all. And in fact, it can be easily disputed.

        But that tagline has served them well for generations.

        Anyone who buys tickets for their family? You can bet it will be one of the most memorable days of their lives.

        In other words, it's personal experience that determines if your copy is hypey or not.

        As a copywriter? I say "swing for the fences," assuming you've got the goods.
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        • Originally Posted by RickDuris View Post

          You gotta be kidding me.

          Hype hinges upon documented proof of results?

          Not a chance. Not one chance in hell.

          I used to think like that. Until one of my Partners b*tch slapped me. For a piece I was writing, I told him "I need proof."
          Sorry about your slapping musta hurt plenty...

          But it doesn't change the fact that without proof, it's hype. To be fair, no one but you said that proof needs to be "proof of results." Those are only required if you're making claims of results. It could be proof of build quality... proof of third party opinion.

          Yeah, it WAS hype, massive hype, I went all out. And I'm proud of it.

          But the hype was backed something other than proof...
          So... you're admitting it was hype (I agree)...

          It was the product and it's ability to fulfill.
          So... to recap. It WAS HYPE. But it was hype backed up by the product's ability to live up to it.

          This too we are in agreement on.

          People will believe. People will take a risk and a chance. Priced right? People will seize an opportunity, when it makes sense to them. People will believe "the hype."

          And that's where the GUARANTEE comes in. And that's why the guarantee is SO important, when there is no proof available.
          And this is precisely where this post takes a strange (nearly manic) left turn.

          The discussion was about hype. To be exact, the question was "what is hype?" At no point was the discussion about why it's okay to use hype... or when is it okay to use hype. And I'm not even sure how we got from that question to "Here's how to cover hype with a guarantee."


          Hype UNEQUIVOCALLY does not hinge upon proof.

          It's hype, ONLY IF the product fails to deliver in the hands of the buyer. That's the true test.
          No... Hype unequivocally DOES hinge upon proof.

          If the product fails to deliver, that's not called hype... that's called fraud.

          That's the big reason WHY CB refunds for IM products are so high. The products fail to deliver. Even though the "proof" and corresponding hype is overwhelming.
          So you're saying refunds are high because the products don't deliver on the hype?

          Okay... a bit of a marketing bombshell but I'll accept it. Still not seeing how this changes the definition of hype.


          PS: I was thinking about this. As an example... may be dated. The Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus.

          Their tagline? "The GREATEST Show on Earth." Hyperbole to the MAX. Can't get any worse or any better.

          Where's the proof that they are "The GREATEST"?

          There is none. None at all. And in fact, it can be easily disputed.

          But that tagline has served them well for generations.

          Anyone who buys tickets for their family? You can bet it will be one of the most memorable days of their lives.

          In other words, it's personal experience that determines if your copy is hypey or not.
          Sorry that doesn't even make sense in Durisland.

          I'll do an "in other words" also...

          In other words, your entire post said...

          Saying things about a product that you can't prove is absolutely HYPE.

          But hype is okay as long as the end user has a good experience.

          And people will believe hype... but if the product doesn't live up to the hype they'll return it.

          Um... okay then. Good stuff... good stuff.

          I'm still missing however how this changes the Garfinkel, Montello, Humphries definition of hype. It just looks like instead of proving the definition is incorrect, you just added your opinion that hype is good. Okay.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Newman
    methomas expressed my sentiments better than I would.

    Business is a process. Hype may be used to sell, but what happens afterwards? What happens when buyers experience remorse. The goal of a true entrepreneur is to satisfy and exceed expectations. The use of hype might be a case of setting oneself up for failure.

    It's also funny and insulting in some cases...''so easy a monkey/my six year old niece could do it''. Yeah, sure.

    If we want high sales and high refunds, fine. But, if we're in this for the long haul, to build relationships,we should be careful of making promises we cannot support with proof.
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  • Profile picture of the author gjabiz
    can be found in my signature.

    First part, factual. You can learn to teach people hidden persuasion techniques...

    the HYPE?

    "programmed robot obeying your every command"...

    Really?!?

    The truth is, it just seems that way when people whom you've never met before instantly respond the way you want them to (great news for salesman and "seduction" markets).

    gjabiz

    PS. Hype is sometimes hard to tell...it may be what people have brought with them to the table.
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  • Profile picture of the author methomas
    To clear up and be clear of the meaning of hype!

    –verb (used with object)to intensify (advertising, promotion, or publicity) by ingenious or questionable claims, methods, etc., to trick; gull.

    –noun exaggerated publicity; hoopla.
    an ingenious or questionable claim, method, etc., used in advertising, promotion, or publicity to intensify the effect. a swindle, deception, or trick.

    Origin:
    1925–30, Americanism ; in sense “to trick, swindle
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    If the product will do what you say it will do, no matter how outrageous your claim, that's not hype. That's fact!

    Hype is when you lie big about the product and you know it's a big lie.

    If you have a good product, then do everything that is honest to sell it. That's the reason to study NLP, hypnotic selling and other persuasive methods, but only if you are telling the truth about the product.

    I have been selling successfully on the Internet since 1998 without hyping up my products.

    Let your conscious be your guide. I've lived a lot longer than most of you and I find it more important to keep my conscious clear than use lies to sell.

    M E
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  • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
    Quite simply, hype is a word used in a sales copy to hype up the product by saying "No hype, only results". LOL.
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    • Profile picture of the author Rigmonkey
      To understand hype, you sometimes have to come away from products and services and look at how it's used elsewhere. Take boxing for example. A few months ago, A fight took place between David Haye and Audley Harrison, two of the most recognisable UK boxers since Lennox Lewis was beating up Americans for fun with refreshing regularity!

      David Haye is a genuine contender for sporting greatness. He's fast, strong and has taken down anything that stands in his way. Audley Harrison didn't even turn professional until he was 30 years of age, has avoid top-rank opponents like the plague and has lost to some very average opponents. Even his victories have looked slow, lethargic and very second-rate.

      Somehow, Harrison got his dream shot at Haye in November last year. He didn't deserve that opportunity but got it nonetheless. As a spectacle, the fight was always going to be a complete non-event and so it proved, with Haye picking his older opponent to pieces and stopping him in the third round. Harrison was so bad, his purse was held back until January 2011 while investigations took place regarding his performance.

      It was a fight that nobody in their right minds would have wanted to pay and see. Ticket prices and PPV costs were so high, you would have needed a second mortgage to have any type of active involvment with the event.

      It sold out.

      Why? That's the effect of hype. Throw enough glitter on a turd and somebody, somewhere, will think that it's gold. Hype is a filthy, grubby, blank canvas that can nurtured and cultivated into anything you want it to be. When you turn it into something somebody thinks they want, even though it's fundamentally flawed, you instantly create a market. Boxing promoters have hype hands-down. There is no need for proof, substantiation or credibility when you're dealing with hype. Hype gives people what they want, before they know that they actually want it.

      Many copywriters and marketers would do well to watch and learn other examples of hype outside of the world we work in. If you can sell Audley Harrison, you can sell anything!
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  • Profile picture of the author methomas
    You can put whatever spin you want on your meaning of hype.
    It still remains that our opinion does not over rule the dictionary.

    –verb -- to trick;

    –noun -- a swindle, deception, or trick.
    The word originated between 1925 and 1930, and meant “to trick or swindle.

    The word came into existence in a very negative way in regard to dishonest salesmen.

    I will use the dictionary as to the meaning of hype and never, ever swindle, use deception, or trick anyone into anything...

    Just the way this country boy was raised.
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  • Originally Posted by Ken_Caudill View Post

    "if you can prove it, it's not hype."

    No, if you can prove it, it's not a lie.

    Hype is something different. When I tell someone they're going to love a product, that's hype. If I tell someone they will make $97,228.68 in 7 days using this guaranteed method, that's a lie.
    Let me see... I tell someone they're going to love something. I of course can't prove they will love it, so that's hype. On the other hand if I say they will earn a certain amount and they can't, it's a lie. Sure... but that lie is also hype.

    Hype is a sales tool. Lying is not.
    Actually both are sales tools. Not entirely on the same level of ethical (or not ethical).

    Claims have to be proven. Hype doesn't. [It's just a way of grabbing attention. No one ever sued Barnum for calling his show the greatest on earth, even if they preferred opera.
    I think you're making the same incorrect distinction our friend Mr. Duris took. No one is talking about suing... no one was even talking about right and wrong. And sure... hype doesn't have to be proven... in fact it can't be proven. That's why it's hype.

    "The Best Weight Loss System Ever Invented" is one hell of a lot different than "Lose 30 Pound in 30 Days."
    Assuming both can not be proven... both are hype. The second one of course also enters into the world of fraud (if) there is no proof of it.
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    • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
      Actually, Vin, you may not know it yet, but based upon your last post, you ARE coming around to my way of thinking.

      I'm glad for you. It will improve your work--massively. Like it did mine, when I discovered.

      Everything you just said I agree with. 100%.

      - Rick Duris

      PS: Everything I just said, I meant as a sincere encouragement.
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      • Glad it worked out for you, Rick. And I'm happy it helped your copy out, massively. My position is what it always has been.

        I save massive improvements for when I rewrite the work of others .
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    I’ve been watching this thread develop and I find it quite interesting and revealing. What’s it’s revealing, I’m not so sure. There’s a similar thread raging on the main board right now about gurus. Both ‘guru’ and ‘hype’ are subject to a massive amount of subjective interpretation or license, if you will. I also find it interesting that the discussion here continued up to the 20th post with no one even offering a definition of the word.

    I’ve always believed the word was derived from hyperbole, which, according to an actual physical copy of Webster’s 9th New Collegiate Dictionary means, extravagant exaggeration. Webster’s then gives the example: Mile High Ice Cream Cones.

    But the word ‘hype’ has had such common usage as a stand-alone expression since early in the last century, it now has its own unique definition in Webster’s. And guess what? It doesn’t even reference the origin, hyperbole. In short, Webster’s says hyperbole means, to put on or deceive, stimulate, enliven, to promote or publicize extravagantly.

    Okay, clear as mud, right. There’s something for almost everyone depending on your point of reference. But I think just about everyone here would agree that the majority of definitions are pretty unsavory.

    Vin Montello says that if you can prove it, it’s not hype. I think that with so many ‘legitimate’ dictionary definitions, that works for me and it's always been so. Why? Because it has a built-in ethics component.

    Rick Duris’ take is this: “It's hype, ONLY IF the product fails to deliver in the hands of the buyer.” I’m cool with that as well. In fact, I can’t see that it really differs much from Montello’s definition.

    When I first saw this thread I did a quick search online and Wiki’s, you gotta love ‘em, don’t you, essentially says, hype is exaggeration.

    Let’s face it, every writer here is going to have to have some clear working meaning or it will drive him or her mad, or maybe it won’t. And for me it comes down to ethics. What are ethics? Maybe it's easier to define what isn't ethical. To me, something unethical is something you wouldn't want done to you.

    I remember back to when I was a kid and I saw a movie where some kids found a treasure chest with a witche's spell inside. The spell could turn a regular person into a bona fide caveman. Wow, what a movie. I was blown away.

    So I went back and told all of my friends about it. I know I was exaggerating a lot but I was really excited and thought it was okay because, the movie was just so freakin’ cool. But when some of my friends returned from seeing it they were disappointed and were mad that I exaggerated, or stretched the truth so much. I learned a big lesson that day because I don’t want to hurt or deceive anyone by misleading them.

    In the world of Internet Marketing people pushing the products say all kinds of things about all kinds of products. And again, my working definition of the word hype is if you can prove it, it’s not hype.

    Look at almost any IM product out there. Big claims. Can they be proven? Yep, most often they can. Someone has actually done it. Is it easy? Nope. It’s simple though, just do this and this and this… any you’re rich. Technically okay, but not practical for most people in the marketplace. Still, legal, and even ethical.

    As I was figuring things out years ago I attended a seminar and got friendly with one of the guys taking orders in the back of the room. I asked him if he had any stats on how many people actually became successful with the material. He did.

    He said that after 20 years in the business the numbers showed that 3% of the people who bought courses, any courses, actually went out and had success with them. He went on to say that only 10% even bothered to look at the material once they got it home.

    I was fascinated. I asked the guy that if only 3% actually were successful how could he bring himself to sell such stuff (I actually blush as I write this). He smiled and said with pride, because you never know who will fall into that 3%. He also said he believed in his products and knew they worked. What someone does with them after they leave the class is up to them. Powerful stuff, and a big lesson for me.

    So, does this post clear anything up? Of course not. I think it comes down to doing the right thing. What does that mean? It varies from individual to individual, but if you wouldn't want it done to you... So here’s to doing the right thing. Peace.
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  • Profile picture of the author John_S
    So, those Clickbank screenshots of what you're pulling in must be all you need. Sorry, but not all proof is credible.

    Hyperbole is extravagant exaggeration, which you can infer is a form of lie. This is not helpful for the purposes of most here.

    From a mercenary, pragmatic, money grubbing perpective hype and lie are harmful for one important reason. It takes your focus off what your target thinks, acts on, and believes.

    Exaggeration can be part of the product or service. People pay to be lied to. Constantly.

    J. Peterman is practically a synonym for extravagant exaggeration.

    Do you get Billy Mays worked up over bonding putty? ...Detergent? Extravagant Exaggeration

    I used to bother with this. Then I got a particular bit of hate mail ...with a money order for full price. My realization was, it's not what I think. It's not even what the target says. It's their decision making process and what they act on.

    People can "do the right thing," and make a product nobody wants. They can develop what they've convinced themselves is the "right" product in the confines of their own mind.

    They can pass a lie detector test. It's still a lie. They just believe the lie they tell to themselves.

    The problem here is taking your eye off the user, the prospect, the customer.

    Your insight for today: Belief structure is all about knowing the lies customers tell themselves. The Question You Have To Ask Yourself: Are you helping them lie, or are you getting in their way? Are you telling their lies or your own? Only one produces a sale.

    You believe things that aren’t true.

    Let me say that a different way: many things that are true are true because you believe them.

    ...We believe what we want to believe, and once we believe something, it becomes a self-fulfilling truth. ...When you are busy telling stories to people who want to hear them, you’ll be tempted to tell stories that just don’t hold up. Lies. Deceptions.

    -- Seth Godin
    Belief stucture is about coherence, completeness, consistency which are only meaningful within the context of a customer world view. Proof is not whatever you decide to provide, it's what the person you're trying to convince will accept.


    Related: All Marketers Are Liars.
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    • John,

      Best... Answer... Period. Thanks.
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      • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
        Your insight for today: Belief structure is all about knowing the lies customers tell themselves. The Question You Have To Ask Yourself: Are you helping them lie, or are you getting in their way? Are you telling their lies or your own? Only one produces a sale.
        One ethical way to deal with this dilemma is to sell the prospect what he thinks he needs on the front-end. Then build a relationship with him, educate him about what he really needs, and sell that to him on the back-end.

        Alex
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  • Profile picture of the author John_S
    Keep in mind there have been a couple documentaries about the reasonable, logical, probably true reasons for the World Trade Center to collapse the way it did -- put forth by highly trained experts in the various fields involved.

    Proof. Very rigorous scientifically verifiable, evidence-based proof. But a good few conspiracy theorists don't agree.

    Everything contradicting their world view is an official explanation, a whitewash.

    What isn't one of the theories: That crooked contractors bought off crooked politicos to construct a faulty building which could also collapse just about the way it did. Doesn't fit the story. Anything that might hint that non-outsiders did this is just not in the running.

    Washington can be a kind of outsider. Some foreign group or individual can of course be an outsider. Other New Yorkers can't. Incompetence isn't in the running.

    The mechnics of this holds the key to a vast array of problems in cognitive engineering and social engineering ...and marketing.
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  • Profile picture of the author John_S
    educate him about what he really needs, and sell that to him on the back-end.
    I would agree, but that's the preamble to the inventor's manifesto of solutions to problems nobody actually has.

    Inventors are practically hard wired to confuse what they think the user needs with some observed, user tested, market verified actual need. Why muddy the water with all this testing, data gathering and verifying when I can simply make up from whole cloth a mirage.

    The day I meet an inventor who spent all his money on customer research instead of his precious product, I'll convert. And not until. (And "precious" should be pronounced in the Tolkienesque way, like presshouuussss....)

    That gets me writing copy for shaving mugs. That gets me marketing challenges. I don't like that.

    Ethics I'm fine with. Screwed up self-righteous delusions ...not so much.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
      Originally Posted by John_S View Post

      I would agree, but that's the preamble to the inventor's manifesto of solutions to problems nobody actually has.

      Inventors are practically hard wired to confuse what they think the user needs with some actual observed, user tested, market verified actual need. Why muddy the water with all this testing, data gathering and verifying when I can simply make up from whole cloth a mirage.

      The day I meet an inventor who spent all his money on customer research instead of his precious product, I'll convert. And not until. (And "precious" should be pronounced in the Tolkieneque way, like presshouuussss....)

      That gets me writing copy for shaving mugs. That gets me marketing challenges. I don't like that.
      Yes, market research. It's absolutely necessary to know what the problem is for the relationship-building/educate/sell-on-the-back-end strategy to be effective.

      Alex
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  • Profile picture of the author John_S
    Yes, market research.
    That's tossed off like someone who gets a lot of clients who do well structured market research.

    I've talked with Bridgestone marketing executives where I had to explain terms like direct marketing and research methodology. And I mean "what's direct marketing?" remedial education. Albeit people exiled to a spin-off, but still.

    I just talked with someone trying to hire a UX designer, in charge of their UX process, actually doing UX design for clients like hospitals, who didn't have any concept of UX other than "we just do what we think is right."

    ...Um, where do you get your clients from, pray tell?

    I am too busy educating clients to have any kind of world view (at all) to embark on an education campaign to change one. They hear words. They speak them in front of me. That is not a world view.

    All these guys and gals want is not to be fired ....tomorrow. That is the alpha and omega of their ethical dilemma.

    Well, I mean, "drink 'til you puke" might have gotten them through college. I wouldn't exactly point to it as a world view or paradigm or ethos. I'll study their mores and folkways, but there is no ethical dilemma when you do proper research.

    The dilemmas come in trying to subtitute gimmicks for research and base trickery for understanding. All the 'ethics' problems come in trying to find a shortcut around what I've outlined.

    Only one problem: What I outlined IS the shortcut.


    Related:

    Folkways and Mores? Here's the consumer psychology. Part and parcel of the world view is ethical frames of reference.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
      Originally Posted by John_S View Post

      That's tossed off like someone who gets a lot of clients who do well structured market research.
      No, not "tossed off". Stated as obvious.

      Market research is absolutely essential. If copy is not written that fits what a prospect is thinking about his problem, the ad won't convert very well.

      I've been fortunate to work with people who either 1) understand their market and can tell me what emotions drive their prospects, or 2) are open to having me help them figure it out. That hasn't been by luck. It's been by design.

      Alex
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  • Profile picture of the author John_S
    It's absolutely necessary to know what the problem is for the relationship-building/educate/sell-on-the-back-end strategy to be effective.
    Doesn't much hurt the front end, either.

    understand their market and can tell me what emotions drive their prospects
    There isn't one alive who'll admit they don't know their customers or couldn't produce a pat answer. That's not what I'm talking about here.
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